How important is attic insulation? If you’ve ever felt a cold draft drifting down your attic steps, worried about ice dams on your roof, or watched your heating bills skyrocket during a cold Midwest winter, then you know the answer to that question.
A more challenging question is, “what is the best attic insulation?” The answer to that one might depend on a lot of different factors. Minnesota homes take a lot of punishment from the weather, and the right attic insulation will help make your home more comfortable and efficient year-round.
Types of Attic Insulation
The ideal attic insulation to add will be different depending on the size and configuration of your attic. It also depends on how much insulation you already have and the condition it is in. There are three types of insulation most commonly used in attics in the midwest.
- Rolls and Batting. Popular for their easy DIY installation, insulation rolls, blankets, and batts are useful for fitting in-between existing attic studs. This category of insulation includes the common pink fiberglass insulation rolls used in many homes, as well as similar products made of rock wool or mineral wool. This insulation is relatively efficient and affordable but lacks the longevity of other types.
- Spray Foam. This type of insulation shines when it comes to filling small, irregular cracks and holes. It expands to fill the space it’s sprayed into. Many homeowners use spray foam insulation in small canisters to fill gaps around pipes and vents. Spray foam insulation is best for new construction and walls and requires special equipment to install.
- Blown-In Insulation. Sometimes referred to as “loose fill” insulation, blown-in insulation consists of loose particles of fiberglass, which are blown into your attic using specialized equipment. It’s arguably the best attic insulation because it can fit any space, and can either replace or supplement existing insulation. Owens Corning ProCat Blown-in fiberglass insulation sits at the top of this category.
Considerations for Minnesota Homes
Living in Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and the surrounding areas means your house must face a particular set of challenges. Howling winds and bitter cold in winter, blazing sun and high humidity in summer—your attic is essentially the front line in the battle to maintain the temperature in your home. To win the fight, you need the right insulation in the right amount.
- R-Values. Insulation professionals use R-value to measure the effectiveness of insulation. Put simply, the higher the R-value, the more well-insulated a space is. For Minnesota attics, the recommended R-value is a minimum of R-49. Many homes—especially older homes—lose heat in winter because of the lack of insulation.
- Determining R-Value. When you ask about the R-value of a particular type of insulation, the answer is typically expressed as R-value per inch. Most insulation has an R-value somewhere between R-2 and R-3 per inch. Once you know this, you can estimate the effectiveness of your insulation with no more than a yardstick and some quick math. For example, if you have 16 inches of insulation in your attic, and your insulation has an R-value of R-3 per inch, then the total R-value is R-48.
- Best Insulation for Minnesota Attics. We always recommend Owens Corning ProCat Blown-in, expanding fiberglass insulation for attics in Minnesota. ProCat insulation wicks moisture, doesn’t settle, and offers R-values up to R-60, depending on the thickness. It has the potential to save upwards of 20% on your annual energy costs, and can either replace or supplement your current insulation, depending on your attic’s needs.
Choosing the Right Contractor
A lot of contractors can put new insulation in your attic, but there are still a lot of differences when it comes to experience, dedication, warranties and quality of materials. Here’s what to look for when you choose a contractor to install new insulation for your home in the Twin Cities area.
- Experience. You need a contractor who has not only a lot of experience, but local experience. The only way to truly become an expert at insulating Minnesota homes is to spend years doing it.
- Quality. Choose a contractor who uses only the best materials. Midwest Roofing Siding & Windows is among only five Owens Corning Platinum Contractors in Minnesota, putting us in a unique position to install the absolute top-of-the-line attic insulation in your home.
- Dedication. Choose a contractor who cares about your home as much as you do and stands by their work. In addition to manufacturer’s warranties, the best contractors will also offer workmanship warranties.
Contact us today to learn more about choosing the right insulation for your Minnesota home. Our team at Midwest Roofing Siding & Windows has been serving the Twin Cities for more than 40 years.